Sunday, January 29, 2012

An update from Denver from Emmalee Albers!

My name is Emmalee Albers and I am a 4th year at Wartburg, majoring in Business Administration and minor in Psychology. I hope to enter the Human Resources field in the future because I have always been a people person. Talking has always been a strong point for me, and my parents and both of my older brothers would agree with me on that also. Not only am I a people person, I like to think I am also a problem solver. I have always been the person that if friends had a problem, I wanted to help you. That’s where the my career aspirations have come from. I want to help people by making sure their work environment is not only a safe one, but a pleasant one!

During my time here at Wartburg West I am interning at the Denver Public Library system in the Human Resource department in their main branch downtown. A big misconception I have been running into lately when I inform people of my placement is that I want to be a librarian. That is not the case at all, which I briefly discussed before. What people do not realize is the librarians, custodians, clerks, shelvers, security guards and so on, are not only working at the library but are employees of a very large system (over 500 employees I might add). They keep me busy with many projects including planning their annual Employee Recognition event in March, scanning applications of potential employees and helping with many other small projects that keep me busy! Having this internship continues to reiterate that this career path is the right one for me!

We have had some amazing experiences here already in these few short weeks. Bonita and Nelson do a really great job at finding truly eye opening experiences. Just this past week we helped the United Way conduct a city wide census on the homeless population in Denver. We were assigned to an all male shelter and I met some very amazing people. I have to be honest I was quite nervous about having to interview the people, but I am so glad I chose to ignore those nerves and participate. It has been probably one of my favorite memories so far here. It opened my eyes to a whole other world and to people I would have never met. The men were very kind, and learning about their lives and how they got to where they are is remarkable. All judgements were pushed to the side, and it was just two people having a conversation about life about how/why they got in their current situations.

The shelter was run by the Salvation Army and they do some much for so many people that I was not aware of. I always see the Salvation Army volunteers around Christmas time standing outside of department stores ringing their bells for donations, but I never really knew anything past that. Going into this shelter and seeing how many people they are helping and continue to help was very motivating. I instantly started thinking of ways I could contribute to this organization.

These type of learning and personal growth moments I find myself having more and more of since moving to Denver. The experiences here are unforgettable and to say that for only being in the  program for going on 4 weeks now says something about this great program Wartburg offers its students. I cannot wait to see what other experiences and amazing people I will have the privilege of meeting while out here.

Hope all is well back in good old Iowa!! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello From Denver!

Hello from Denver!

My name is Brittni Lair and I am a 4th year Biology major and Spanish minor. I hope to go to Physician Assistant School next year. I am so lucky and happy to be at Wartburg West. My mom was nervous that once I came out here I would never want to go back to Minnesota… well I think she might have been right! Denver is an amazing place and has so much to offer.
So far classes have been very interesting. In the ID course we have been discussing the history of Denver.  It is interesting learning about how Denver became the great city is it today. In the religion course we have been investigating the faith of our founding fathers.  On Monday we had the opportunity to celebrate MLK day in Denver. We had breakfast with members of the Urban Servant Corps and then walked in the MLK marade. This whole experience was great and definitely something that I would have never done on my own. It was interesting seeing the diverse people who participated in the walk. Seeing thousands of people come together to celebrate MLK day was very moving. Tomorrow we are visiting the state capitol which should be fun!
Even though we take classes two days a week, the bulk of my week is spent at the Denver Health Emergency Department.  I was lucky to get placed in one of the best level one trauma facilities in the United States. Each day I fold linens, clean rooms, get things for patients, and run errands for the nurses and technicians. My favorite part about my internship is that I get to follow the physicians and nurses around all day. I have already seen more in my three weeks here than I have in my 60+ hours of job shadowing experience. There is never a dull moment in the Emergency Department. Denver Health is the county hospital; therefore it provides care to anyone regardless of ability to pay. It took a little while to get used to the homeless, jail inmates, and people with severe substance abuse issues who come into the hospital. There are times when I can’t even believe my eyes. This experience will help my future in the medical field immensely. I have already learned a ton and can’t wait to learn more!
Aside from work and school, I have found plenty of other ways to keep me busy! There is a recreational park called Washington Park only a few blocks away from the apartment complex that I have fallen in love with. It is January and I have been running outside almost every day! That does not happen in Minnesota or Iowa. Last weekend I went to Fort Collins to visit my cousins. We went to a brewery and watched the Broncos game. Fort Collins is gorgeous! Yesterday, a group of 6 of us went to   The Balistreri Vineyards with two Wartburg West alumni. We got to taste over 20 different wines and got a tour as well. It was a lot of fun! The winery is brand-new and has a great banquet hall for weddings.  It is definitely a place I would recommend going.  Then last night my roommate Katy and I were lucky enough to go to a concert. We saw Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, and Brad Paisley at the Pepsi Center. It was nice because we hopped on the light rail about 3 blocks away from our apartment and it brought us right to the Pepsi Center. The concert was AMAZING!!! One of the highlights was that Tim Tebow showed up! You can about imagine how exciting that was for all the people at the show. Before we came out to Denver, Katy had said her goal was to see Tim Tebow. Little did she know that it would actually happen! Those are just a couple of highlights from the past week. Other than that, I have been to the Public Library, numerous good restaurants and bars, to the 16th Street Mall, to Cherry Creek mall, and much more. There is an endless amount of things to do in the Denver area. I am so happy that I am out here! I hope everyone is staying warm back home! J

Brittni Lair

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wartburg Invades Leadville!

Wartburg Invades Leadville!!

This last weekend the whole Wartburg West group ventured up into mountains to small town called Leadville. The elevation in Leadville is nearly two miles above sea level. Needless to say the altitude took toll on a lot of us. We learned from Wild Bill, our host from the hostel we stayed at, that one beer in Leadville is equivalent to two beers in Denver and three beers in Iowa! Nonetheless the town was beautiful and had much to offer. On Saturday our group was spilt in two; one group went to Ski Cooper and the other stayed behind to explore the town. Unfortunately, there was not too much snow on Saturday so snowmobiling was out from the possible options to indulge in. However, the group was able to go skiing, snowboarding, and light snow shoeing. The group that stayed behind ventured into small shops and ate at the local saloon called the Silver Dollar. Being a historical town there were many antique shops some reaching two stories high filled with treasures. Our entire group stayed at the Leadville Hostel hosted by Wild Bill and his wife, Kathy. The hostel was very warm and cozy complete with a real wood burning stove. All the guests were welcoming and there were even a few dogs to keep us company at night. Our final night in Leadville was a fun! One group went ice skating at a local outdoor rink. The other group went to the local saloon and played pool, shuffleboard, and kept each other company until the others could join. On Sunday morning Leadville received about three inches of snow making the drive home a little more difficult. Our time spent in Leadville proved to be a great experience with a lot of group bonding opportunities. We learned a lot about one another and left feeling closer to each other. 
Turning to academics, my placement out in Denver, Colorado, is actually not in Denver at all, but rather in Littleton which is about a 30 minute drive from our apartment. My placement is at the Life Care Center in Littleton exploring social work in a geriatric setting. I love what I do and am getting a lot of direct client contact. Recently the Life Care Center had a visit from the Today Show to talk with one of our youngest residents who had made tremendous strides recovering from a stroke. The clip will air Monday morning, January 16th. As an intern social worker I am taking cognitive and mood assessments on both rehab and long-term residents. I work with families as their loved ones heal and provide them with resources for future planning. I shadow the multiple disciplines at the facility and will eventually facilitate a group on my own. I conduct social histories to better get to know the patient and provide companionship when needed. The Life Care Center of Littleton is technically for all adults but primarily we oversee geriatric residents. Our goal is to get everyone strong enough to return to their previous living situation but if that is not foreseeable then we find the best care possible for their needs. I am looking forward to starting my research project working with respiratory residents dealing with depression and anxiety. I hope all is going well in IOWA!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Week one in the Mile High City!

Hello Friends, Family, Wartburg Staff and faculty, professors, and all others!

Greetings from Denver!  My name is Amanda and I am a fourth year business major with a marketing concentration and leadership minor.   While at Wartburg West, I am interning with the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver at their Program Support Center. 

It has been a week since we arrived in Denver, and I have to say, I may never leave.  We have been completely immersed in the city since Day 1.  Last Thursday, we all met at the church up the street to learn about everyone’s placements and broke into groups (education majors, social workers, and interns) before heading downtown on the bus.  For some people, it was the first time using public transportation and for the majority of people, the first time using it in Denver.  We headed down to the bus station to get a quick lesson in the RTD system and to buy January transportation passes for those of us who need them. We also managed to hit up the visitor’s center on the 16th street pedestrian mall before heading to lunch at the Bock’s house followed by a introduction to city living.  That night, we were on our own to hang out.  My roommate and I met up with a friend from Wartburg and headed to an Avalanche (hockey) game downtown and had a BLAST.

On Friday, we all participated in an explore Denver activity that took us all over the city.  We rode the bus, the light rail, and explored on foot 8 different parts of the city.  The goal was to orient ourselves to the RTD and look at which parts of the city were poorer, more affluent, had shops, where would we want to live, where should we not go, etc.   On our tour of the city, we visited the Museo de las Americas, the capitol building, Larimer Square, the African American Research library, the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, Tattered Cover bookstore, Washington Park, Far East Shopping Center and Cherry creek Mall.  It made for a super long day, but we had fun! That night, we had the opportunity to travel across town to the Comfort CafĂ© which is a non-profit community meal site that feeds whoever comes and runs by donation.  We enjoyed a nice meal of lasagna, bread and salad and heard about other groups adventures and their findings in the city.

Over the weekend, we were all free to enjoy the holiday, and we all did just that.  Some people went down town to watch the fireworks, some went out with friends in Denver, and some went to a very popular restaurant/bar, but all had a blast.

Monday marked the first day of class for everyone.  Those students taking just the LS course met first, and then the interns met to go over syllabi.  The semester will be a lot of work for everyone, but also one in which we can all learn, grow, and explore. 

Tuesday marked the first day of internships/practicum’s/ student teaching for most people. Everyone seems to have found their placements okay, and had an okay day.  My internship started today, and I have to say, I am SUPER excited.  I was a little skeptical at first, but getting there and meeting the people and hearing about the projects I will be working on gets me super pumped up.  Plus, I got to go to a couple of the Boys and Girls Clubs and play with kids.  And who doesn’t love playing with kids?

The apartments are pretty quiet tonight.  It seems to be a pretty chill night as I hear the hum of my humidifier, and the sound of the cars passing outside my window.  Denver is this incredible city that has so much to offer and there is always something to do.  As my supervisor drove me around today to different clubs, I kept seeing parts of town that I wanted to go back to.  I kept thinking of MORE things to add to the list of things that I wanted to do.  Speaking of things to do, I better get off the computer and get busy with homework and fun and whatever other trouble I can manage to get myself in to J

That’s all for now! We are headed to Leadville, CO, this weekend, the highest incorporated city in the US, so maybe there will be an update about that next week.

-Amanda Woodin